>> alfred zacher presents his thoughts on why some president exceeding others fail in office. this is about 45 minutes. >> good afternoon. appreciate you being here for this event that we can credit c-span for our being here this afternoon. we are familiar with the familiar phrase past is prologue, which is emblazoned on the wall of the national
archives. you have heard the phrase, history doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes. this afternoon, with your assistants, i would tend to apply past is prologue to the history of the second turn. but i frankly do not understand history writing, so that one will be ignored. we are once again facing the challenge of selecting our president when the winner is too close to call. we do not expect to witness an election won by overinflate. some will look longingly on the time when one candidate dominated the political scene. lyndon johnson grittily be very goldwater and richard nixon, overwhelming george mcgovern. each of those elections, one of
the candidates failed to capture the spirit of the american voting public and the winner had the advantage of a weak opponent. franklin roosevelt won his second term landslide because of huge popularity. and many of our presidential elections, the candidates are in a fitted title to present themselves as the one capable of serving the country with the winner is walking off with the modern maturity. the customary wisdom that the campaign between the incumbent president and his opponent will be either a referendum on the first term of the president or a judgment of which candidate would be the better theater. is there really a difference between these two
considerations? is it not boil down to judging the leadership skill of the incumbent based on effectiveness during his first term versus the unknown leadership skills of the challenger. it's easy to point to the national security or economic consequences impact on the ratings have been in combat as the indicator of the popular view of a sitting president. the public was not over enchanted with the war in iraq when george w. bush ran for reelection. against john kerry, but voted by a small margin seem to believe bush should be the better theater cannot be with the vote reflected a favorable referendum on george w. bush's first term. the importance of the communication of a candidate cannot be discounted as a factor
however. but all of this misses a different valuation of mayors being taken into account in judging between incumbent or obama and his challenger, and that rummy. that is the of the second term on so many presidents. only seven of 19 presidents elected to a second term avoided having a troubled or failed second term. i would give the country about a 30% chance of obama and the nation next. cnn improved security and economic climate. after four years if obama is reelected. i do not suggest the campbell should not be taken, simply that history playing with politics might give us pause.
so what does history project about a second term for barack obama? where he reelect it was so few president having success at that time in office. what are the challenges that face those who had trouble or failed second term and what allowed others to succeed and can barack obama overcome these challenges if he's reelected to become a member of the select group of presidents that waited through the quagmire of the second term and somehow came through relatively unscathed. success in the second term does not imply there were not failures are significant stumbles. some even severe during my tenure. that do not impact how to be the fulfillment of a significant
number of the following measures of success. first, the president must provide defense against foreign or domestic dress. secondly, the president must retain or expand economic, political or social opportunity. this becomes the primary challenge if the nation feel secured from military threat. third, the president must effectively lead congress since the nation began with the perennial conflict between the executive and legislative branches of government. most presidents will extend their exclusive hands of authority to the utmost, congress on the other hand generally seeks to limit, the president's freedom of action. is understood, however, time to time setting such limit may be
needed. fourth, the president of servers embrace. of invincibility, of hubris which icons the president to lose touch with political realities. five, the president must exercise influence over and effectively communicate with the nations whose able to communicate persuasively. six, the majority of american people must believe in the president's integrity and sustain a substantial level of pride and the president throughout the eight years in office, despite specific shortcomings he must have strengthened the nation on alan by his actions. the president must lead a legacy for the nation. the list of those failed in their second term includes george washington, james
madison, andrew jackson, theodore roosevelt, dwight eisenhower, ronald reagan and bill clinton. the game is a special case in his successful second term was so brief. it's interesting to note that only presidents who had a more successful second term than their first were james madison and andrew jackson. the following is an accounting of the president-elect did to a second term and the reasons for those failed for a troubled second term. for failed because of a water seems on unwinnable. jefferson, truman, johnson and bush were the foyer. also for a failed because of the
economic crisis for failure to act and deter such a crises. these are jefferson, cleveland, coolidge, franklin roosevelt's and george bush. it failed due to their inability to lead congress for jefferson, monroe, grant, well some, truman, johnson, nixon and bush. franklin roosevelt and richard nixon. for he did not affect the philly communicate their agendas or initiatives for jefferson, monroe, grant in cleveland. obviously failure for second term president has been their inability to successfully work with congress. only 82nd term presidents have
failed second terms to directly to the fight between congress and the white house. i've been a majority of their own party of relief. those presidents who served in the congress have a majority of the opposing party during his second term included wilson, eisenhower, nixon, reagan and clinton. the competitive battle between the president and congress, over the treaty. after considerable after working with members of congress, compromising and cajoling. and i was at the congress of right-thinking federalist senate president hu is revered. when they went in his second
term, eisenhower worked quietly behind the scenes of the senate majority leader, brendan jones said, to gain approval of his legislative agenda. ronald reagan began the democratic speaker of the house, tip o'neill to compromise as they were. i may be cynical to postulate some of nixon's rather liberal legislation were prompted by a democratic control of congress. woodrow wilson was the target of the republican party that wanted to even many squabbles they had the president. he defeated both william howard taft and theodore roosevelt to win his first term. he spearheaded legislation and the approval of the league of nations that would be selected
to good republican party hostility to wilson. the treaty was never proved. for those who care for approval for the president allowed compromise. the wilson stood firm. it was the president, not congress who refused compromise. one of the most successful relationships between a president and congress occurred during the second administration of the clinton. he had encouraged the democratic party to move more closely to the center politically well before he ran for president. his welfare legislation reflect that. his success in working with newt gingrich and the republicans in formulating that tax reduction legislation led to a budget surplus is the touchstone for
success in working with the opposing parties to fulfill a president legislative agenda. clinton insightfully appointed erskine bowles to represent him in negotiations with congress. bulls great talent for bargaining was important in reaching the president's legislative agenda. but this is followed by the same house of representatives voting to an each bill clinton, obviously an extreme example, but the age-old conflict between congress and the executive branch of government and get bill clinton was lifted, only seven were elected presidents who were successful. there are lessons to be learned from the clinton's second term that might offer guidance to obama where he reelect me. some of the president to face
hostility from congress feel the majority of their own party included washington, jefferson, monroe, grant, theodore roosevelt, johnson and bush. andrew jackson was censured by the congress controlled by democratic party. he never forgave. franklin roosevelt had a constant battle for southern democrats in congress who opposed his new deal legislation and he suffered his greatest political defeat as a democratic controlled congress refused to support his plan to pass the supreme court. eisenhower, a republican font legislation drafted by a fellow republican of ohio who sought to take away presidential power. what this paper is all about, however is what we might expect for four years of his second
term for barack obama. were he reelected, obama in all probability would face a daunting challenge of working with republican majorities in house and possibly the senate. what lessons might obama learn from history where he reelected? confronted with a congress dominated by republicans, further complicating the challenge is the apparent disappearance in the spirit of compromise, which has actually been a mainstay of legislation through the nations history with one very momentous exception. members of congress and the south would not compromise on the subject of the expansion of slavery, other than states defeated and the civil war institute. we have heard much about the impending battle between the president and congress over the
extension of the bush tax cuts, raising the death on it and potential of automatic cut and spend name. the necessity of resolving these issues is the chairman or nokia refers to as the fiscal cliff. it is likely these political decisions will be given brief extension so that the next president and congress will be saddled with making the decision. as a second term president, obama would face obstacles really experienced by a chief executive return to office, where he would face sizable numbers of members of the senate and house who say they will not compromise. these% ominous clouds on the horizon for a second term for obama. other lessons the obama and all it drifts and learned in presidential history that may
give guidance for the resolution of this can turn. first, however, it would be helpful to review obama's background and the customary valuation of him. his opponents and some supporters at this barack obama has the leadership skills, experience, cultural background and temperament to deserve a second term as president of the united states? has opponents say no to all of the above and that they consider socialistic tenant is an putting the desire to copy your pm foundations for the stimulus -- i'm sorry, skip to page here.
to desire the european government economic policy as the basis for the campaign to deny him the office. his liberal democratic party complains that he compromise successively in the tea party controlled congress and expansion of the debt level and other legislation. they expressed concern he did not appear to be a decisive leader of such legislation or in the management of the health care proposal. some of the supporters believe congress is given a free range in the design of health care plans, it accused of destroying bipartisanship by independents who also were disturbed by what they see as inability to meet and negotiate with republican opposition. there could be no question that obama? experience in government, either
as governor for a long term member of congress on any face of business. further, his background and academics ms community worker neisser offers no evidence of someone's who is the fire in his belly to be a leader. he had primarily been a teacher, counselor, advisor and mentor. he had customarily conferred to the thoughtful in taking time before responding to requests for advice or opinions on matters. he had no experience in negotiations at a level that would prepare him to meet the republican congressional leaders are international heads of state. he had no experience or even academic training in either economics or complexity of governmental finance. obama had no experience initiated by the legislation
that might have assisted him in structuring a strategy for health care legislation. taken this inexperience into account, it almost appears obama stepped out of your is the person who so aggressively fought the state legislature, united states senator and president of the united states. obama obviously had to learn all that was required to be president for on-the-job training. it is possible to conclude observing the weighty legislation pastoring his first term, obama is a quick learner. it seems he grappled with challenges that the economic crisis and formulation of the stimulus package haltingly commenting heavily on economic abasing. the most appropriate, on the stimulus program is the nation did not falter and sent economic
expansion is occurring. the bailout of the automobile industry seems to be a success. the health care legislation frequently lacked presidential leadership and judgment of most observers and final configuration yet to be determined. all of this took place with minimal experience. how well is obama meeting the measures of a successful president? he has probably seen as protecting america's but the use of drones, special forces killing osama bin laden and members of al qaeda. his withdrawal of troops from iraq and plans for removal from afghanistan is greeted with approval by the majority of americans feared at the moment, obama securing the task although
the rise of anti-american appraising encoding of the master of libyan success in afghanistan has minimally raised the issue with defense of the nation as an ingredient in the coming election. the obama society economic opportunity inherited the worst economic crisis since the great depression, but the president is now called responsible for continuation of high unemployment and minimal hope for his improvement and also for increases in the dead end deficit. his job legislation proposals are not well received the republicans. the administration has not proposed any innovative resolution for the severe downturn in housing and some believe he should have supported and promoted simpson/bowles deficit reduction proposal. he's not been able to significantly expand economic
opportunity. how has obama used the tools of leadership? he attempts to communicate his vision of proposal, but he said. so often on television that overexposure was occurring. he's a capable public speaker, beseeches frequently like this. he showed during his first campaign. he seems to lack a dramatic communication skills of fdr, reagan or clinton. obama frequently comes across as a teacher and not a motivator. he fails then to frequently excite and motivate the broad public he must reach, although he isn't doing that in the current campaign. there's a recent article in the sunday edition of "the new york times," entitled obama plays to win in politics and everything
else. the author paints a picture of obama that gives greater insight into hand and how he might function as a second term president. i'm quoting now now from the article. four years ago, barack obama seemed as if she might be a deliberate professor of a leader. maybe with a touch of hawaiian alan s. he has turned out to be a voraciously competitive perfectionist, friends say so in interviews. mr. obama's own words say it best. he is a perpetually aspiring overachiever. as he faces off that romney, obama's will to win and fear of losing is in overdrive. he is cramming for debates
against an opponent, raising money and a frantic pace to narrow the gap with mr. romney and embracing to do anything it takes type take a minute recently contentious campaign. even bystanders of the political world, mr. obama's obsession with virtuosity, and proving himself a remarkable. this quote saying parenthesis, critics call it eric at. when mr. obama was derided as insufferable overachiever in an early political race, his friends weren't. it. even those loyal to mr. obama say that his quest for excellence can bleed into cockiness and he tends to overestimate his capabilities, end of quote. so what should one predict about a second term for barack obama,
particularly with these qualities of character? he most recently exhibited a combination of moving to the center while preaching with somehow detect good his class author, targeting the wealthy from our taxes. speaker of the house boehner states that the president backed away from the great compromise on raising the debt limit. in an article in "the new york times" magazine tends to support that charge. in a recent book by bob woodward paints a picture of obama standing for against boehner in the negotiation. as the requirement for major legislation approaches and appears even more rigid positions are being forecast for the next congress, it will take an unusually skillful second term president to deliver solutions to the financial problems facing the nation. if the task rests on the shoulders of barack obama, would
emulate wilson who would not compromise or will he be like eisenhower, reagan, clinton and even washington who figured out how to win against the odds to achieve the accommodation with congress he would need a lyndon johnson, took a nail, newt gingrich to a congress majority that would follow. what specifically would i recommend obama would do to avoid challenges of the second term. primarily he should appoint an intermediary of the skills that erskine bowles to work with congress on his legislative proposal. he should recommend a creative revision of the tax law, serious debt reduction program. should encourage college to enact an annual budget that occurred for the past three years. he might come up with a proposal for inventive public or of a
partnership to improve infrastructure, including the electric grid and of course continue to encourage any energy independence. the resolution of unsold houses should be sought, but all of this will occur only if a reelected barack obama could somehow find the unique temperament required to work with his administration, to move to the center and discover ways to reach meaningful compromise with a congress willing to pass legislation the country so desperately needs. what is not a subject of this paper, one can ask and will he be reelected? rarely have presidents been reelected to a second term as popularity ratings in the 40% level, which is where obama rests. so does romney. it's interesting to note only three of 19 presidents elected
to a second term had relatively less popularity rating at the time of the reelection, as low as their election. but for wilson, harry truman and george w. bush. these presidents experienced troubled or failed second terms. history aside, one cannot discount the possibility obama would win by based on statistics like this, but because the electorate judges had the best alternative of the two candidates. the test of the second term is another matter however. thank you. [applause] we really would welcome questions to be an advantage to c-span to have question-and-answer period.
maybe some of you will reply to the questions from the audience. if you'd like to participate, decent microphone overhead. even if you have any questions? >> i thought that was their rockabilly object is an evenhanded treatment and very insightful. thank you so much. my question is, given that the president's opponents in the congress had made no bones about their goal to make of it what term president is, have you seen in your research of the situations the quick prayer to that level of directness in terms of that kind of vehicle? >> and to follow it, you are saying they actually plan in the first term to oppose the president extensively so as to deny him a second term. that's a very fair question.
i would say, and that would then require a congress of the opposing party. in other words, we had this presidents that have their own party would not occur. well, i would think that clinton, interestingly enough in contrast to that, his center of the road come his welfare program is in the first term and therefore he did that his support, although where possible, congress opposed him whatever they could find the investigations. so they are a good example for they did everything they could to deny him a second term. that's just one example.
wilson suffered some of that, but it wasn't until his second term that he had a republican congress. looking back, clinton would be an easy answer to that. any other questions? >> if the president is reelected will, he dazzled to choose to give making them before the next election cycle starts? >> does he turn into a lame duck rather promptly? it takes a very highly regarded president to avoid that. you notice only two presidents have more effective second terms than first because of the first two years of a second term is
the only chance of getting much done, ray can i say is an exception to that, but i was in foreign affairs, not domestic. the lame-duck cobweb occurs pretty much -- it's a rare president who in the last two years of his second term has an effect if time. any other questions? yes. >> a day to ask a question about woodrow wilson. i understand he wanted to get the league of nations past and was not able to do that. what little i know about the league of nations seemed like a good deal. why could make it this past? was a strictly political? or why not? >> his opponents in the party
recognizes weakness is demanding his plan be accepted. and so, they selected only one major item. that is the right of the leak to bring the member nations to war, to battle. you notice the united nations did not give the nations that rate, particularly because of the league of nations. the congress said they would quietly redesign of the. the european nations also had removed that. he refused and the republicans knew that he was that rigid in his nature and they just
selected that and played it to. yes? air. >> it's entirely possible that barack obama may win the electoral vote and they either lose the popular vote or the popular vote may be very close. what effect is that likely to have on his performance in the second term? >> the implication is the weakness that he has ended sleekly that at best if he wins he will have a small majority of either the electoral college or the popular vote. that would te. that would add to the congressional -- the republican position that they don't have to cooperate with the man who doesn't have a man date in the mandate is the same that would be one of the bases for
presidential power in the second term and that will not exist or have. so he's going to have to depend on other devices. primarily to the point where he wish he would appoint erskine bowles directly. i know he's only an example, but there are not many people with skills to handle a negotiation like that. thing as to where negotiation is truly correct that it doesn't deny the president his position. it simply tries to work those positions, giving up pieces of bad so that each side has to give it pieces of their position, not give up totally. if that's the demand that they give it totally, then we're not going to have success.
i do think that the danger of the country of not solving our fiscal problems will rest on the shoulders of those making these decisions. he said they will be some movement greater than the statistics, the power of the president will have possibly less in place. yes. >> we had one president that had more than two terms. is there anything unique about those third and fourth terms? >> it's interesting that it's thought that washington said the two-term one that. who says there was a constitutional amendment. the fact is he wanted a third
term and if he didn't have his own party opposing him because they didn't feel he'd been a good president that he would've been a third term president. and teddy -- theodore roosevelt defeated not said he's not going to run again, he would've had a third term. there's no question because of his popularity. i think your question is roosevelt then became the powerful, hugely admired president because of his third term, but he made it world war ii and the success he had sayer to make that third term valuable. i've been asked whether or not we shall may have one term. i think the idea of allowing the american people the right to choose or not choose the election of a president one time
is enough because you do have the potential for what we see in places like shabazz and so forth. i would say that our system is from that standpoint correct. but i think we don't want third terms. thank you. any other questions? yes. there is a question over there. >> with all the studies you down on the characteristics of a corrupt leader, is there a person or a couple of people that today not strongly enough obama does she think would have those characteristics to lead the country through the issues it faces their? >> and you want to be president? [laughter] that is needed.
the office is strange requirement of the people. and i did have a section in the paper and i deleted it specifically because it's on the second term. but whether or not business is a credential for office and i reviewed the fact that george washington really about the president was probably more in today's news than any of the other second term presidents. we can represent his clients in business and is very effective they are, but he himself didn't manage his own affairs very well. and of course we had hoover who could not communicate. some of his policies were actually adopted by roosevelt,
construction finance corporation, but he couldn't communicate. he couldn't put together the leadership skills and of course truman and grant were huge failures in business and george h. debbie bush is hardly an exam with a president who is very successful in business, and effective administrator, they didn't communicate his position while to the american public and he lost after his first term. so i was say -- i think there were some candidates out there that had strained and cared for. and this is over the years about the republican and democratic partners. one senator from virginia who
had great depths of character, who had self-confidence in a quiet sort of way that could have made excellent president. but they chose not to. they were not able to win the primary. you could ask whether primaries are better -- not equal to that, but that's another topic, another question. any other questions? well, thank you very much. [applause]